U.S. Producer

Tony Thomas, a native of California and member of one of U.S. television's leading families, began his own TV career as an associate producer at Screen Gems and moved from that position to become a producer at Spelling/Goldberg Productions. These associations brought Thomas into early contact with his future partner, Paul Junger Witt, who also started his career at Screen Gems. Indeed, their first significant venture together was on the award winning made-for-television movie, Brian's Song, which Paul Witt produced. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized Brian's Song with six Emmys, including one for Outstanding Single Program.

In 1975 Thomas and Witt formed their own company, Witt/Thomas Productions and a year later the two men joined with the talented writer, Susan Harris, to form a second entity, Witt/Thomas/Harris. The three launched their first series in 1977, the highly acclaimed Soap. Brutally attacked by a reviewer for Newsweek, who had not even seen the show, Soap quickly drew fire from uninformed conservative religious leaders who threatened to boycott the ABC comedy. As Thomas recalls, it was very close to the time of the first broadcast before a full complement of sponsors was assembled. And sponsorship appeared as a continuing difficulty for the network. The producers credit Fred Silverman of ABC for standing firmly behind their creation in spite of the attacks.

There followed a string of successes including Empty Nest, Benson, and The Golden Girls for which Thomas, along with Witt and Harris, received Emmys for producing the series in 1985-86 and 1886-87. In the 1996-97 season Witt/Thomas began its fourth year producing The John Larroquette Show and introduced two new series, Pearl and Common Law.

Through their company Thomas began producing feature films with Paul Witt. Working with Touchstone Pictures, they produced the Oscar winning film Dead Poets' Society. Their feature work also included the 1992 release Final Analysis, and continued in 1996 with three films in production in association with Warner Brothers.

Tony Thomas is active in fund raising efforts on behalf of St. Jude's Hospital, founded by his father Danny in 1961. It is the world's largest childhood cancer research center.

-Robert S. Alley

Tony Thomas
Photo courtesy of Tony Thomas

TONY (ANTHONY C.) THOMAS. Born in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., 7 December 1948. Educated at the University of San Diego. Assistant to the producer, Young Rebels television series, 1970; associate producer, Getting Together television series, 1971; associate producer, Brian's Song, 1972: associate producer and producer for numerous other television series; with Paul Junger Witt formed Witt/Thomas production company, 1975; later, with Susan Harris, formed Witt/Thomas/Harris production company, 1976. Address: Witt/Thomas Productions, Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, 1438 North Gower Street, Hollywood, California 90028, U.S.A.


1970-71 Young Rebels (assistant to the producer)
1971-72 Getting Together (associate producer)
1976-77 The Practice
1977 Loves Me, Loves Me Not
1977-81 Soap
1979-86 Benson
1982-83 It Takes Two
1983 Just Married
1985-92 Golden Girls
1987-90 Beauty and the Beast
1988-95 Empty Nest
1991-93 Nurses
1991 Good and Evil
1991-95 Blossom
1991-93 Herman's Head
1991-93 Nurses
1993 Whoops
1993- The John Larroquette Show
1995 Muscle
1996 Local Heroes
1996 Pearl


1972 Brian's Song (associate producer)
1973 Blood Sport


Firstborn, 1984; Dead Poets' Society, 1988; Final Analysis, 1992; Mixed Nuts, 1994.


See also Benson; Golden Girls; Harris, Susan; Soap; Witt, Paul Junger